Ambulance Insurance In Victoria - What Are You Covered For?

We’ve compiled some tips for Victorian residents who want to ensure they’re adequately covered for the costs of ambulance transport and services in case of emergency, both within Victoria and interstate.

If you’re a Victorian, you’ll generally have two avenues through which you can obtain ambulance cover – Ambulance Victoria membership, or a health insurance policy which provides cover for ambulance services. But what’s the deal for non-Victorian residents visiting the Garden State? Let’s take a look.

What is ambulance cover?

While ambulance services are a fundamental component of the hospital system, they’re not covered by Medicare, which means that in some Australian states and territories, including Victoria, ambulance services are generally not free.

This in turn means that, as with any other medical service not covered by Medicare, you could be paying out-of-pocket if you don’t have an appropriate level of cover in place (and if you live in a part of Australia where ambulance services aren’t covered by your state or territory government). In some states, including Victoria, residents can pay a membership or subscription fee to cover them should they need an ambulance, but it’s worth noting that some private health insurance policies may also include a certain level of ambulance cover.

Health insurance cover for ambulance services can take a few different forms – some health insurers offer a standalone ambulance cover product, whereas others simply include ambulance costs under their hospital or extras products.

Even if you’re covered for the costs of ambulance assistance, once the ambulance gets you to hospital, you may need cover for any further medical assistance you’re given, depending on factors like the hospital you go to and the types of treatment you receive. This means you may want to consider having a high-quality health insurance policy in place, just in case.

Access to ambulance services for Victorian residents – how it works

Receiving ambulance assistance or transport within Victoria

Victorians may be on the hook for the costs of any ambulance services they receive unless they hold either Ambulance Victoria membership or a private health insurance policy which provides cover for ambulance services. Bear in mind that not every private health insurance policy will necessarily offer the same level of cover, so it could be worth checking with your insurer on what circumstances you will and won’t be covered for before committing.  

That being said, Ambulance Victoria notes that under the State Concession scheme, some Victorians are eligible for free ambulance services. This includes:

  • Holders of a Victorian Pensioner Concession Card and their dependant children listed on the card (not including spouses)
  • Holders of a current Health Care Card and their dependants listed on the card, including spouses
  • A child who holds a current Child Disability Health Care Card or Foster Child Health Care Card
  • A child under a Family reunification, Care by Secretary or Long-term care order including children on interim accommodation orders
  • A person who is subject to an order under the Mental Health Act 2014, Sentencing Act 1991, or Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997 requiring them to be compulsorily assessed or treated in a designated mental health service

You can find a list of the fees charged by Ambulance Victoria here, however it may be worth noting that in the case of an emergency at the time of writing its callout fees exceed $1,000 for those without cover who aren’t eligible for free ambulance transport.

Finally, bear in mind that if you live just outside Victoria in certain parts of New South Wales or South Australia, you may also be eligible to take out an Ambulance Victoria membership. A full list of the relevant non-Victorian towns is available on the Ambulance Victoria website.

Receiving ambulance assistance or transport outside Victoria

When travelling interstate, Ambulance Victoria says your membership (if you have one) will provide you with the same level of cover for ambulance services you have within Victoria. However, if you do receive ambulance assistance or transport, you will need to forward the invoice for these services to Ambulance Victoria for payment. Check with Ambulance Victoria for further details on how this will work.

If your ambulance cover is provided through a private health insurer, you will need to check with your fund regarding whether you’re covered for interstate ambulance services. And as mentioned above, any additional hospital care could come at a cost to you, so you may want to take out a health insurance policy to help cover those additional costs. You can compare health insurance products with Canstar.

Are visitors to Victoria covered for ambulance services?

Non-Victorian residents are typically not eligible for free ambulance services within Victoria, and may be responsible for paying the costs of any ambulance services provided to them, with a handful of exceptions as outlined by the Victorian Government.

 

ACT residents who are covered for ambulance services through their private health insurer will be able to forward an invoice for ambulance services provided to their health fund. Check with your insurer to confirm what types of ambulance transport in Victoria will be covered.

New South Wales residents may be eligible to have any ambulance assistance they receive paid for if:

  • They hold a pensioner or healthcare card, in which case the Ambulance Service of NSW can pay your account
  • They hold basic hospital cover in NSW, in which case an ambulance levy is included as part of their premium and they can forward the invoice to their health fund for payment

The NSW Government advises that non-emergency ambulance transport (for example, transfers between hospitals) typically will not be covered by the Ambulance Service of NSW.

Northern Territory residents may be eligible to have any ambulance services received paid for if they:

  • Are a St John Ambulance Service subscription scheme member, or
  • Are covered for ambulance services through a private health insurer. Check with your insurer to confirm what types of ambulance transport in Victoria will be covered.

Queensland residents are eligible for free ambulance services anywhere in Australia; they will receive an invoice for the services received, which they can then forward to the Queensland Ambulance Service for payment.

South Australian residents may be eligible to have the costs of any ambulance services received paid for if they:

  • Are a South Australia Ambulance Service member with interstate ambulance cover, or
  • Are covered for ambulance services through a private health insurer. Check with your insurer to confirm what types of ambulance transport in Victoria will be covered.

Tasmanian residents can receive free ambulance transport within Tasmania, but ambulance care they need in Victoria or elsewhere on the mainland may come at a cost. However, they may be eligible to have any ambulance services they receive paid for if they are covered for ambulance services through a private health insurer. Check with your insurer to confirm what types of ambulance transport in Victoria will be covered.

Western Australian residents may be eligible to have any ambulance services received paid for if they:

  • Are over 65 and in receipt of an Australian Government pension
  • Are covered for ambulance services through a private health insurer. Check with your insurer to confirm what types of ambulance transport in Victoria will be covered.

Additionally, any individual who holds a Gold Card issued by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) is also covered for the costs of any emergency ambulance services received in Victoria.

Expats and other international visitors who do not live in Australia are encouraged by the Victorian Government to get in touch with a travel agent to discuss potential options for ambulance cover while spending time in the state.

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